Sunday, January 12, 2014

Control Panel Design

I have spent some time doing up the design for a number of control panels for my mate David’s layout.  Some of the panels are rather simple crossing loops.  The whole aim of these panels is push buttons connected to an NCE mini panel sending commands onto the track bus and a number of Digitrax DS64 point controllers listening for their address to throw the Peco points.  One of the panels includes a rather large station which incorporates a few sidings.  I have taken the NX (I understand that it is short for Entry-Exit) panel sample code from NCE website and modified the code to put it together for his needs.  So David came over today and he was most impressed with the details I had previously sent him about this panel and mode of control at this main station.  My only problem was that I have two too many routes configured and so it will not fit into the Mini Panel’s 30 locations.  So with some discussion today we have removed a couple of routes and now it should fit.  I will confirm all of this later on tonight when I can concentrate on this while watching the one-day cricket match between Australia and England.
Last night while thinking about David’s panel, my mind turned to our new Club HO layout.  I think I will put together an NX panel for the main station at that location and show that to the guys.  We might even end up creating one of those for the Club layout.
So just before David came over today I was in the process of checking out the last installed Digitrax DS64 point controller that I was having trouble with.  This one was heating up and while it seemed that I could code up some addresses into it, it would then not throw the points at those addresses.  I had ordered an additional replacement DS64 and it turned up this week.  So I connected that one up and sure enough it worked.
So I now have one to send my dodgy one back to Digitrax in the US under warranty, but I might just wait until David tests a few of his, to ensure that they all work.  Should he also have some dodgy DS64’s we can send them back together and share the postage costs to the US.
Tomorrow I will be sending my NCE radio equipment off to get upgraded to the latest version.  So I will be without any means of control for the layout.  However, that will not stop me being able to continue wiring up the Power bus should it not be back by next Friday – which I do not expect it will.

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